A NUMBER of benches in Newquay are now a celebration of diversity and equality after the community came together to help spruce up the town and cr..." />
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News Archive > General > Newquay´s benches are now Pride of the town

Newquay´s benches are now Pride of the town

By Beth Perry 25th July 2018

Newquay´s benches are now Pride of the town
Photo: Beth Perry

A NUMBER of benches in Newquay are now a celebration of diversity and equality after the community came together to help spruce up the town and create the first official Pride benches in Cornwall.

Beach Parade in Newquay has had a colourful makeover after volunteers spent the weekend working hard to strip and repaint the railings, replacing wooden caps, weeding and jet washing the area and fixing up the two benches.

The plans were created as part of Jon Goodman’s DIY SOS Local scheme which sees Jon rounding up volunteers to help local causes and projects.

As part of the Beach Parade project, Jon negotiated with Cornwall Council to gift the two benches in the area to Cornwall Pride who said they were ‘delighted’ with the idea. 

The group works hard to help support the LGBTQ+ community and to promote diversity and equality in Cornwall and are currently putting the final touches on their big Pride celebration which will take place next month.

Jon invited the organisers of Cornwall Pride and, with the support of Matthew and Nathaniel Kenworthy Gomes and designer local artist Cathy Davies, the designs were drawn up and cleared with Newquay Town Council. 

Newquay Town Council were also excited about the project and so granted permission for a further seven benches, including one which is 30ft long, to be painted as a rainbow on the iconic Killacourt.

Following a lot of negotiating and planning, about 40 volunteers got to work scraping layers of old paint off benches and repainting them with a rainbow, creating what is believed to be the first ever official Pride benches in the UK.

But after hours of work refurbishing the benches and surrounding areas, the were dismayed when one of the benches in the Killacourt was vandalised by an unknown person or persons.

Someone had defected on part of the newly painted bench and used the excrement to write a slur aimed at the LGBTQ+ community.

When Cornwall Pride revealed what had happened on their Facebook page the next day an outcry of disgust came from local residents and groups as well as messages of support for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Cornwall Pride team said they were “heartbroken” by the incident but all of the volunteers got back to work on Sunday to fix the damage by cleaning, stripping and repainting the bench.

A spokesperson from Cornwall Pride said: “After all that hard work it was heartbreaking to work through the next day, knowing what had happened. The incident has been condemned by Cornwall Pride organisers, Newquay community leaders, both Newquay and Cornwall Council and the police.

“It has been reported to Devon and Cornwall Police as an obvious hate crime and they will be investigating as they have CCTV of the area. It was a vile act by an individual or individuals, which do not represent the feelings and support Newquay has for the community.”

They continued: “Please do not allow this to undermine that Newquay is incredibly supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. Cornwall Pride, our supporters and the whole LGBTQ+ in Newquay are in shock but are now standing stronger against the hate, which is why Pride exists. 

“Pride is a celebration of diversity but it is also a beacon and a protest against hate and discrimination of the entire LGBTQ+ community. After this vile act, the volunteers ensured that it would not dampen the moods of finishing this incredible project!

“A huge a massive thank you to Jon Goodman, Matthew, Nathaniel Kenworthy Gomes and Cathy Davies Cornwall Council and Newquay Town Council for making this all happen and come together. And of course, all the amazing volunteers, proving Newquay is a very special place.”

Mayor of Newquay, Andy Hannan who also helped out with the work along with his wife and chairman of Newquay in Bloom, Barbara Hannan said: ““The idea to paint the benches in the rainbow colours was a welcome new addition to the event and will bring home the message that Cornwall Pride has chosen Newquay to hold their celebration  and certainly brighten up the whole area. 

“I was bitterly disappointed to hear that one of the benches had been defaced but I can assure you that everyone I come into contact with is fully supportive of the Cornwall Pride event and that there is no place for this kind of behaviour in our Town. 

“I personally look forward to the Cornwall Pride event and this year and my Wife and I will be taking part in the parade. We had a brilliant time last year spending a lovely afternoon meeting the many visitors to our town and making lots of new friends.

“Who knows, if the new colours prove popular we may consider painting more benches this way. Well done to all involved in the project. Another example of Newquay’s community working together to improve our Town.”

Following a busy weekend, the benches are now completed and ready to be used. The splash of colour is set to help brighten the town as final preparations are completed for this year’s Cornwall Pride event which will take place on Saturday, August 25 in Newquay, starting with a parade from Towan Beach at 12 noon, a Rainbow Festival on the Killacourt at 1pm and a Moonbow Party in Tall Trees from 7pm.

For more information, timings and tickets, click here.

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By Beth Perry 25th July 2018

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